On February 22nd, the Drury Theatre department will kick off their spring musical, The Fantasticks in Drury’s new Black Box Theater.
Setting the Stage
According to Junior Becca Haegele, The Fantasticks is a musical about two teenagers who are tricked into falling in love by their parents. Throughout the show they are pushed together and pulled apart by the antics of the other characters and the need to find themselves.”
Freshman Riley James plays the role of Luisa in the musical.
“Luisa is a naïve 16 year-old who is madly in love with love. She dreams big and falls in love with, well, everything,” James said. “She is portrayed as insane and unreasonable, as many young lovers are.”
One of the things that Luisa falls in love with is her neighbor, Matt, played by sophomore Alex Jones.
“Matt is the quintessential “The Boy Next Door” character- he’s a few years older and more educated than Luisa (the girl next door) but still more or less just as immature,” said Jones.
Road to the Spotlight
Many who have not had the experience of preparing for a show of this caliber may be surprised to find out the amount of time and energy that is required to prepare for showtime.
“The show has been incredibly stressful. We have rehearsals every weeknight from 7-10pm, on top of the hours we spend in the scene shop, box office, and costume shop in order to prepare for the show,” said James. “We began musical rehearsals right before break and were told to return back with the entire script memorized. If you don’t know, this is a HUGE commitment.”
While the time commitment has undoubtedly been extremely taxing both mentally and physically for Drury thespians, they know that it will all be worth it when those curtains open.
Haegele, who plays a Mute that supplies characters with props and motivations needed to convey the story, knows that she will be getting much more out of the experience than she has put in (and that’s a lot!).
“Preparing for the show has been a commitment that takes a lot of time and energy, but I wouldn’t trade the opportunity for the world,” said Haegele.
This show holds a particular significance to Haegele, as this will be her first role on-stage at Drury.
“Since coming to Drury, most of my theater experience has been working backstage and running the box office. This will be my first time being on-stage in a main stage production and to me this is what attending a liberal arts college is about; the opportunity to experience so many different aspects of your degree,” said Haegele.
The Fantasticks is a production of firsts for Jones as well.
“This is my first musical role, and it’s been nothing but a blast learning the ropes with the cast and crew. People have been nothing but supportive and helpful, and it’s been really cool to see these beautiful stage images and messages we’ve created intertwined with music,” said Jones.
While he is definitely enjoying the process, Jones is anxious to see the show come together.
“A play is a living, growing creature that is always changing, even during performances, so as all of us grow more and more into our roles and the set is finished around us, I’m honestly just really excited to see the final product and how developed we can make the world that we’re creating ourselves,” said Jones.
Lights, Camera, Action
The Fantasticks will be performed in Drury’s new Black Box Theater, a project spearheaded by Dr. Rob Schraft, former director of the Drury Theatre program. Dr. Schraft passed away last October, which adds an additional layer of significance to The Fantasticks.
“Dr. Schraft worked extremely hard to design the new theater and was very excited that this show would be the first performed in it. To be a part of this production is an amazing opportunity to celebrate that, and all of the hard work he gave to this department,” said Haegele.
In addition to the immense meaning behind the production, Drury students should come see The Fantasticks because it is simply a great show.
“People should come see the show because they will be pleasantly surprised with the immense talent displayed by our theatre department,” said James.
Jones encourages students to see the show not only to show support for their peers, but because of the art behind the theatre.
“Film you can watch later, and you can always watch a recording of that show online, but theatre is an immersive live art form that isn’t going to stay around. That brings a very surrealistic element to the viewer that no other medium could recreate and you really don’t want to miss it,” said Jones.
Tickets for The Fantasticks will be available starting on February 12th. The show will run from February 22nd to March 3rd at the Sunderland Black Box Theater.